New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge

March 18, 2024

For five years running, the New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge has brought together teams of high schoolers from throughout the state for a friendly competition. Each team presents a solution to a major challenge facing New Mexico, the country, or the world, using skills grounded in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

The competition has three interconnected goals:  

  • Recognize achievement and develop potential in the diverse students of New Mexico.
  • Encourage participation from underrepresented populations in STEM, including minorities and girls.
  • Help teachers incorporate and utilize the Next Generation Science Standards in classrooms.

This year’s STEM Challenge took place on January 20 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Organizers presented the participating teams with a tough question:

“Now that we live in a post-pandemic world, how can we improve overall mental, physical, or relational help and wellness in our homes, schools, and communities through the use of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)?”

How it works

The STEM Challenge is open to New Mexico students in 9th to 12th grades. Each team can have a maximum of ten students and two teacher mentors. The Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) Foundation oversees the event.

A panel of judges reviews each presentation, evaluating the team’s ideas and how well they have applied STEM principles. 

Teams are paired with sponsors who lend them support. The winning team can take home up to $5,000 in prizes, with each team member awarded $500. 

A great success

“These projects addressed a wide array of problems and challenges that our teens face both in New Mexico and in the world,” said Tony Fox, interim president and CEO of the LANL Foundation. “The solutions they presented addressed issues ranging from gun violence and addiction, to loneliness and anxiety, to clean air and water.”

“This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners and sponsors. Their commitment to STEM education is helping to shape the next generation of leaders in New Mexico,” said Ryan Labbe, the STEM Challenge’s chairperson and general manager of Tyler Technologies, a software company.

The STEM Challenge’s Statewide Showcase Coordinator Madi Egnaczak said, “Not only was the quality of the projects exceptional, but it was more clear this year than ever that the students’ had very personal connections to these issues. Many of their projects directly addressed problems that they face themselves or that affect their friends and family.”

A Commitment to Community

Pattern Energy is proud to have sponsored the team from The Academy for Technology and The Classics at this year’s STEM Challenge.

Their project included a sensor and user interface for an app to make taking care of plants easier. Congratulations to the team for an outstanding effort. The future of New Mexico lies in the hands of these young innovators. The team at Pattern looks forward to seeing the future they create.